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Weed and feed is the lawn care equivalent of the shampoo-and-conditioner-in-one products you find on the hair care aisle. They promise to save you time while giving you the same results you’d get by applying two different products. You’ve probably noticed that two-in-one hair care products haven’t led to the extinction of individual shampoos and conditioners, however. For much the same reason, there are many people who believe it’s better to weed and feed your lawn as a two-step process.
We’ve done the research on weed and feed, so you can learn why it might not be the best option. We’ve also got tips on how to use it on your lawn if you think it’s right for you.
If you’d like a healthy green lawn but don’t like the idea of applying fertilizers and weed killers yourself, House Method’s recommended lawn care service provider is TruGreen. TruGreen has offices throughout the US and Canada, so it’s likely there’s a TruGreen branch near you. For a free price quote on lawn service that meets your yard’s needs, call 888.535.3193 or fill out the online form.
Weed and feed is the term used for lawn care products that contain both herbicides (weed killers, the “weed” part of the name) and fertilizer (the “feed” part). Weed and feed is designed to fertilize your lawn while also killing weeds, like dandelions and clovers, in your grass.
Many people like the idea of using weed and feed because it means they only need to do a single application of product rather than separately applying herbicide and fertilizer. They see it as a way to do twice the work in half the time.
The weed killer in weed and feed is either pre-emergent or post-emergent.
If you still think the benefits of a two-for-one application outweighs the negative aspects of weed and feed, the Weed Science Society of America offers some tips to follow, so you get the best results with the least environmental damage:
The easiest alternative to applying weed and feed is to treat feeding and weed killing as two separate processes. Apply fertilizer at the time dictated by the kind of grass growing in your yard —fall for cool-season grasses, late spring or early summer for warm-season grasses.
Treat for weeds at an appropriate time. If you truly think you have weed seeds all over your yard waiting to sprout, apply a pre-emergent over the entire yard in late winter, before the seeds begin to germinate. If you’ve applied pre-emergent in previous years and have your weeds under control, putting pre-emergent over the entire yard may be overkill. In that case, it makes more sense to see if any weeds do come up and spot-treat them with an appropriate herbicide based on what’s growing in your yard.
A natural product called corn gluten meal, sometimes referred to by its initials, CGM, may offer some hope for an organic alternative to weed and feed. CGM is a byproduct that results from wet milling corn. An Iowa State University professor found that it reduces seed germination, and it has been patented for use as a natural pre-emergent agent. CGM is about 10% nitrogen, which is the main ingredient in most fertilizers, so it’s also a natural fertilizer.
But if a natural, organic weed and feed sounds too good to be true, it might be. There are several reasons why CGM hasn’t become the go-to weed and feed product:
The most environmentally friendly way to avoid weed killer is to pull the weeds out of your yard by hand. Weeding is never a fun task, but if you hand-weed, you don’t have to worry about chemicals being tracked into your home or being washed off and polluting local waterways.
A variety of weeding tools are available to make the chore a little easier. These include long-handled, foot-operated tools that grip the weeds and allow you to dig up the roots without having to bend down.
The best defense against weeds is a thick, healthy lawn. Keeping your lawn adequately watered applying fertilizer when necessary, and taking steps such as aerating when necessary may be all your lawn needs to stand tall against a weed invasion.
If a healthy lawn is your ultimate goal, it might make sense to turn to a professional lawn service that understands what products your lawn needs and when to apply them. House Method recommends hiring a professional lawn care provider to handle tasks such as fertilizing, weed management, and soil amendments.
House Method recommends TruGreen as a lawn care provider. TruGreen sends professionally trained service technicians to care for your lawn, starting with a Healthy Lawn Analysis®✦ that will determine the health of your lawn. TruGreen will tailor a treatment plan that meets the needs of your lawn.
With more than four decades of experience, TruGreen services more homes in America than any other lawn service provider.* The company also guarantees you a healthy lawn, and technicians will come back between scheduled visits as needed to make sure you’re satisfied.◆
TruGreen offers three levels of service.
Not only does TruGreen tailor applications to the exact needs to your yard, but they are known for exceptional customer service. The company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and has been accredited since 2012.
Read more: Our reviews for TruGreen’s lawn care and pest control services
Scotts® Turf Builder® Weed & Feed 3 advertises Weedgrip Technology as a more powerful formulation to combat dandelions and clover. The company says the formula is two-times more powerful than its previous formula.
Granular weed and feed products should be spread on a wet lawn to help the granules stick to the weeds. Don’t water your lawn for at least 24 hours after applying the product.
Scotts, which makes a variety of lawn care products like Turf Builder and weed and feed, recommends waiting until your new lawn has been mowed at least four times before you put any kind of weed control or crabgrass preventer down. The company recommends using Scotts® Turf Builder® Starter® Food for New Grass Plus Weed Preventer to prevent crabgrass when you’re growing a new lawn, but it can only be used on some cool-season grasses and not on any warm-season grasses.
Scotts and other manufacturers do make liquid weed and feed formulations that you spray on your lawn.
The weed control products in weed and feed are sensitive to temperatures. Scotts advises against using weed and feed products when the outside temperature is 85°F or higher.
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